Autumn house sales lift asking prices near record - study

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House-sellers' asking prices sat just below record levels in October as the autumn market gathered pace, a property website has reported.

The average price tag on a property coming to market across England and Wales is £309,122, marking an increase of 0.9% or £2,623 compared with September, Rightmove reported.

The website said it is currently a "sellers' market" in Wales and northern England, while in southern England it is buyers who hold the upper hand.

The average asking price across England and Wales is now just £1,349 below a record high reached in June.

Asking prices have increased for two months in a row, following falls in July and August in the weeks following the vote to leave the EU. 

Rightmove said a North/South divide has also emerged in the autumn housing market.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said estate agents in the northern half of the country reported a quiet week or two after the Brexit vote, but most then saw a quick return to good levels of buyer enquiries and sales agreed.

He continued: "In contrast many in the southern regions saw more prolonged hesitancy among buyers, with it taking until September before a marked pick-up in activity."

Combining the housing market in Wales together with the North of England and the Midlands, the number of homes on the market is down by 11% compared with a year ago - hampering buyers' ability to negotiate - Rightmove said.

Meanwhile, the supply of available homes across southern England is up by 16% compared with a year ago - meaning some buyers may be able to take their time.

Mr Shipside said: "This increase in the number of properties up for sale should not be misinterpreted as a glut of unsold property, but rather as an increase from the very low number of properties that agents have had on their books in the last few fast-selling years.

"While there is still underlying high demand in mass-market sectors, some find that affordability has become over-stretched while others judge that prices have risen beyond their true value.

"While many properties are still selling, in market sectors where there is now a lot more choice, buyers need enticing by an attractive price or by properties with special finish or appeal."

In Wales, asking prices increased by 0.6% month on month, taking them to £178,178 on average. The South West and the North East were the only regions to see asking prices fall month on month, with decreases of 0.8% and 1.8% respectively.

London saw the biggest monthly increase in asking prices, with a 2.4% increase taking the average price tag there to £645,833.

In Kensington and Chelsea, asking prices have jumped by 13% over the last month alone - taking the average price tag on a property there to £2,328,422. However, asking prices in Kensington and Chelsea are still 6.6% down on a year ago, when they were at just under £2.5 million.

Rightmove also quoted the views of estate agents.

James Court, director at Readings Property Group in Leicester, said there have been strong sales and a shortage of new properties to replace them.

He continued: "Typically, we have a choice of buyers for each property. So you need to have sold to secure your next purchase."

Richard Jones, a partner at Marriotts Estate Agents in Nottingham, said: "If the right house in the right area at the right price comes onto the market it's gone within days, either getting very close to the asking price or achieving over.